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Recognizing online fraud schemes and suspicious emails

Sharing your GoFundMe fundraiser and properly engaging with your donor network is an important part of fundraising, and we want to help you achieve your goals in both a safe and effective way.

Here are some tips to help you recognize and report common online scams so you can protect yourself and the funds you raise.

How can I avoid fraud schemes? 

  • Take extra precaution when reviewing emails and texts you’ve received. GoFundMe will never ask you to accept an individual donation. If the messages or links look suspicious, avoid opening them.  For examples of scams we’ve seen, visit the 'Types of Online Fraud' section below.  
  • If you’re unsure if an email from GoFundMe is real, send it to our team using
    account-security@gofundme.com or click “Contact Us
  • As with all public online activity, sharing personal information such as your address, phone number, personal email address, or other forms of receiving payment (Digital wallet links, personal bank account information, etc), directly in your fundraiser or with potential donors you don't know can put you at increased risk. Avoid sharing this type of information, and report any suspicious contact attempts to our team using
    account-security@gofundme.com
     
  • If you're adding a beneficiary, it's important to confirm your beneficiary’s email address with them personally. If you don't personally know your beneficiary, please contact our team. 

For additional tips on how to keep your account secure, or if you believe your account has been compromised, please visit our Help Center article titled “Account security”.

What if I find something suspicious? 

If you've received any suspicious correspondence regarding your GoFundMe fundraiser, please do not respond; instead, forward it to account-security@gofundme.com. If you’ve received a suspicious text message, you can email a screenshot of the text message to account-security@gofundme.com. We’re always here to help. 

What should I do if I clicked a suspicious link or provided personal information?

  • Immediately contact our team to report concerns about your account activity. Be sure to share any suspicious correspondence you’ve received.
  • Change your password on your GoFundMe account and with your Email service provider
  • Check in with your other online accounts and set up Multi Factor Authentication
  • Closely monitor your banking activity and transactions for suspicious activity
  • Set up free account alerts with your financial institution(s)

Types of online fraud schemes 

Offers related to your GoFundMe fundraiser

If someone you don’t know is reaching out to offer something that sounds too good to be true, we always recommend validating the individual before sharing any personal information. Donors and donor networks shouldn't expect anything from you in return for their generosity. Some examples include offers to:

  • Run your fundraiser (especially for payment)
  • Withdraw donations on your behalf 
  • Guarantee reaching your fundraising goal in exchange for a service fee or percentage of funds raised
  • Initiate a large donation to your fundraiser if you pay a service fee or percentage of funds raised
  • Share your fundraiser with a large social following for a service fee or percentage of funds raised
  • Make a donation if you provide personal information such as email address, phone number, or banking information

If you receive suspicious messages or offers, please email account-security@gofundme.com for further review or verification.

Phishing

Phishing is an attempt to get personal information (such as a username, password, or financial information) by pretending to be a website or person. 

Phishing behavior as it relates to your GoFundMe account usually takes the form of:

  • Bad actors sending an email or text message asking you to take action with a phishing link embedded in the message;
  • Redirecting users to a spoofed GoFundMe website that will not show up as “GoFundMe.com;
  • Bad actors contacting organizers and posing as a legitimate beneficiary, donor, organization, or even as a GoFundMe employee

As a reminder, all communication from GoFundMe will be from a GoFundMe.com email address. 

While GoFundMe has tools and processes in place to help protect you from this kind of activity, we also encourage you to share relevant information with us as soon as it takes place. The sooner we’re made aware of a situation, the sooner we can help mitigate potential risks.  

We encourage customers to use caution when reading or responding to emails through GoFundMe’s contact system. If you receive a suspicious email, please forward the email to account-security@gofundme.com.

Sweetheart/romance scams and catfishing

A sweetheart or romance scam involves building trust by pretending to be romantically interested in someone and then using that trust to commit fraud. Some fraudulent activity can include stealing a victim's money, bank and credit card information, or even their identity.

Often used with romance scams, catfishing is when an individual uses a fake identity in order to trick a victim. 

When talking online to someone you don’t personally know, do your best to verify their identity and never share personal details or send money to someone without having 100% confidence in their identity or story.

Offers for GoFundMe positions

If you see a GoFundMe opening advertised on social media, you can always verify the job opportunity by visiting Careers at GoFundMe. While real employees are encouraged to post about job openings on social media,  be careful of posts that require you to directly message the individual or do not include the link to our Careers page, because these are often not affiliated with legitimate job offers from GoFundMe.

Additional concerns?

If you ever suspect someone is impersonating GoFundMe or an employee of GoFundMe, please contact us by clicking "Contact Us" at the bottom of this page to verify the authenticity of the message.

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